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Things to Remember while Purchasing a Residential Apartment in India

12 February 2014, Wednesday

There is a famous saying “ It is a comfortable feeling to know that you stand on your own ground .Land is about the only thing that cannot fly away”. One has seen how the weaver bird builds its nest. How it intricately weaves palm leaves to make its abode. Surely looking at this bird building its nest emphasizes the need to have a roof over one’s head. House hunting can be a complicated task. The chances of one being cheated are high. One cannot be complacent as a residential apartment cannot be purchased time and again. Remember the saying “Buy in haste regret at leisure”.

What factors need to be noted while purchasing a residential apartment in India?

Location :
One has this as the single most important factor while purchasing a flat. Accessibility to market, school, banks, place of work, hospitals and other necessities is a must. One’s residential apartment should be in a neighborhood well connected by a public transport system and in these dangerous times a secure neighborhood is a must. Frequent power outages and water stoppages are a strict no .One also needs to avoid picking up a flat in a highly polluted and over populated area.

Insist on a written agreement :
One must demand a written agreement from the developer clearly stating specifications, details of payment and time of delivery .A strict penalty which ensures one’s safety with regard to the delay in delivery of the completed apartment as well as a penalty on one if he defaults on the payments is necessary to keep the developer happy. If one is purchasing a ready made apartment then he needs to check the fire safety as well as electricity and water connections of the apartment. One also needs to check the age of the apartment.

Track record of the developer :
Past track record of the developer is a must while purchasing the apartment. The developer should have a good record with regard to timely delivery of the apartment as well as quality should be of very high standard. One needs to talk to other developers in the area and check recent sales of apartments in the area. Relying only on the word of the developer and his agents is not a good idea. One needs to consider the time taken by the developer to complete his under construction projects in the past and check if the developer has been involved in any legal dispute in the past.

Take a bank loan :
Taking a bank loan helps to bring the bank into the picture as it has to sanction the loan. One can trust a bank to protect its investments. The bank would conduct a due diligence test as well as a background check and past history and track record of the project. One can take a small quantum of loan from the bank to ensure that the bank jumps into the game.

Why must one be careful not to be misled by advertisements of developers?

Buy two get one free…More for less is the norm when one makes any purchase. Why should one change this mentality when it comes to real estate a product far more costly than most. One must realize that this greed can be misused by developers. Remember in this World there are no free lunches.

Caution is the byword when purchasing real estate and one can start by learning the terms used. When developers advertize their apartments they speak of super built up areas which includes lobby, stairs, park, swimming pool within the apartment complex. One most focus on the carpet area enclosed within the walls of the flat. One also has the built up area which includes the area occupied by the wall which one has to pay for and is fair. One’s costs drastically increase because of being charged for the super built up area as there is no standard measure for the rates one is charged on this. It is best to clarify these points with the developer at the initial stage itself.

Which are the documents one needs to check while purchasing a residential apartment in India?

Title Deed :
One has this document as the most important as it establishes ownership over the land and thereby the flat. It also helps to trace the past ownership of the land .It is ones responsibility to check the title deed and ensure that there are no legal disputes associated with the property. One needs to check for general power of attorney where the right to sell the land to others or construct an apartment is granted to the developer by the owner of the land. Imagine if one has purchased an apartment and then finds that the general power of attorney is invalid and the developer has no right to sell the land.

Sale agreement :
One has an agreement with the developer called a sale agreement. This basically specifies the rules and regulations and conditions of the transaction one has with the developer. This agreement is made before construction commences and is written for a future time period. One might have a clause included where the sale agreement can be terminated.

Sale deed :
One has the sale deed where the ownership is transferred from the seller of the property. One cannot purchase a property if there is no sale deed. The sale deed is registered with the office of the sub registrar and stamp duty and registration charges need to be paid. One needs to check the sale deed of the developer which contains the buyers name, location and number of the property and any other details deemed necessary.

Khatha :
One needs to check the khatha of the developer which reveals the owners name, size of the property, location of the property as well as the tax paid on the property. One has the khatha transferred through the registrar’s office after the purchase is made. If one purchases an apartment in Bangalore he needs to check if the developer has a khatha A certificate .One needs this certificate for water and electricity connection as well as a building license.

Encumbrance certificate :
One needs to check the encumbrance certificate which states that the property is free from any outstanding loans or a loan liability. One needs to check for the past 30 years to ensure that the property one is purchasing is free from any encumbrance.

DC Conversion :
If the property one is purchasing is an agricultural plot it needs to be converted to a non agricultural plot by the developer. The developer sends an application to the deputy commissioner and the land is said to be DC converted once approved. One now has land ready for residential use.

Layout :
One now has DC converted land and the developer makes the layout plan or design. One has the layout which has the plot size, park or a road and is sent for Government approval to see if it matches set standards. One has the original layout registered and a deviation from this in construction might land one in problems.

Occupancy certificate :
One needs to check if the developer has an occupancy certificate issued by the Government which states that the building is fit for occupancy. The developer gets this certificate if the constructions conform to the submitted layout and the building is deemed safe as per the inspections of the fire service department. One is not permitted to indulge in commercial activity within the premises.

There is a famous saying “Better be safe than sorry”. This saying is apt when it comes to the purchase of a residential apartment. Being complacent in ones purchase can have severe consequences. Happy home hunting…

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